Beyond Kubernetes: key competencies for infrastructure and operations engineers in 2020

For the system engineers and those employed in the company, the switch to the cloud and the increase in containers have drastically changed working practices and even the type of job roles in recent years.

But that doesn’t mean you can learn Kubernetes and then rest on your laurels. To a certain extent, the general changes in the industry have not stabilized to some sort of consensus, but have created a field where change is only more likely – and where the situation may be even less stable.

This does not mean that you have something to fear as an engineer. However, you should be open to the skills you learned in 2020. Below is a list of five skills that you should consider to advance in the new year.

Scripts and scripting languages

Scripts are an integral part of the skills of many engineers. The reasons for this are obvious: with them you can automate tasks and get things done quickly.

If you are not proficient in scripting, you should of course learn it. But even if you do, it’s worth thinking about some new programming languages. You may find that a new approach – such as learning Go if you mainly use Python – makes you more productive or helps you solve problems more easily than in the past.

Learn Linux Shell Scripting with Learn Linux Shell Scripting: the basics of Bash 4.4.

For more information about scripting with Python, see Mastering Python Scripts for System Administrators.

Tools and platforms for infrastructure automation

With the advent of hybrid and multi-cloud systems, infrastructure automation platforms such as Ansible and Puppet are becoming increasingly important for many companies. While Kubernetes may have weakened its position in the broader DevOps tooling market (if so), it remains relevant in a world where managing complexity seems to be a key technical issue.

With Puppet striving to continuously develop and secure Ansible a strong position in the market, they remain two of the most important platforms to explore and learn. However, there are plenty of other options too. Terraform in particular appears to be growing at an alarming rate, even if it has not yet reached critical mass. But Salt and Chef are also worth learning.

Get started with Ansible – Learn with the Ansible quick guide.

Cloud architecture and design
Gone are the days when cloud was just a rented server. Gone are the days when a simple (or at least relatively simple) solution to storage and computing problems was offered. With trends like multi and hybrid cloud becoming the norm, it is critical that serverless companies at the forefront of software development can assert themselves to put different elements together.

Indeed, this is not an easy skill that you can only learn with some documentation and training materials. These help, of course, but it also requires a sense of business needs, an awareness of how developers work, and an eye for financial management.

However, if you can develop the wide range of skills required to develop cloud solutions, you are a very valuable asset for a company.

Become a certified cloud architect with Packts new Professional Cloud Architect – Google Cloud Certification Guide.

Security and resilience

With the increasing complexity of architecture, the ability to ensure security and resilience is both critical and extremely challenging. Fortunately, there are many different tools and techniques available for this, each relevant to different areas of responsibility – from service meshes to monitoring platforms and chaos engineering – and engineers can master stability and security challenges in a variety of ways.

Make it your business to learn what you need to improve the security and resilience of your systems across all platforms you work with.

Learn how to automate cloud security with Cloud Security Automation.

Push DevOps forward

Nobody wants to hear anything about the growth of DevOps – we understand that. It has been growing for almost a decade. Another wave of platitudes towards the end of the year is certainly not to be expected.

Instead of telling you to just hug DevOps, it’s wiser to think about how you can do DevOps better. What do your development teams need in terms of support? And how could they help you?

Theoretically, the gap between Dev and Ops should now really be broken – the only question is how things should develop once the silo is broken.

Okay, maybe this isn’t necessarily a single skill that you can learn. However, it all starts with a conversation – so make sure that you and your surroundings have better conversations in 2020.

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